we ordered a bottle of white wine with dinner.
You probably had a Chardonnay, which tend to have more alcohol than other whites. Usually the lower the alcohol content of wine, the sweeter it will be although Pinot Gris can sometimes be an exception (at least to my palate).
Ask for a lower alcohol content white and you should find something more to your liking. And as previously suggested, getting a bottle of Asti (champagne, really although they can't call it that) never fails. It is sweet, delicious, and festive.